Looking at these Picasso paintings from 1932, especially in person, creates an experience of producing a judgement, noticing the severity of the judgement, and ultimately allowing forgiveness to take over in favor of novelty.Read More
Almost 400 years ago, the painter Vermeer and his colleagues were not so interested in who could make the newest thing - instead, they wanted to see who could paint the most compelling picture of boring old regular-day life.Read More
For every major exhibition of Impressionism, Cubism, or Fauvism, Derain risks getting relegated to a corner of the show, while superstars like Cézanne, Picasso, and Matisse soak up the spotlightRead More
Clip Studio Paint released an excellently intuitive version for the iPad Pro!Read More
This month I began working in a new format - miniature paintings!
These mini paintings take about as much concentration or more as a larger painting, say an 8 x 10. Decisions just have to be better and more precise.
I'm still working through painting my memories, many of which involve video games from the 1990s - up next is a painting of an Arcology from Sim City 2000. Here is the underpainting and the original Arcology:
On the other side of the studio I have been finally working on something that has been in my to-do pile for months - lettering my comic, Tilted Sun.
I'm accomplishing the lettering project in Clip Studio Paint (Formerly known as Manga Studio). Although learning Clip Studio Paint took a few painful failures for me and several Googlings of how to get text to work the way I wanted, it's been worth it. (I might try illustrator for this too, soon?)
All in all lettering has made the comic more real. I've set up about 60 pages of the comic so far without any words, just scribbles of notes of the words that I wanted to use. Ironically this has worked to make the images more expressive - the images were working almost like a silent film until now.
The first part of the comic also took different turns than I expected - I had most of it written out but then decided to discard a lot of the first, second, x drafts, in favor of what felt better, or indulging "what the comic really wanted to say".
It continues to take me a long time to work on this comic because writing and doing art for and lettering a full color comic takes many hours of thought at different levels. Oil painting feels like a break compared to it. It works for me to spend time on both, especially since paintings emerge into the world as physical objects, and the comic just lives in screens (for now). So, painting is the day-by-day mini reward that helps me keep going through the comic.
All in all October was a solid month and November is off to a great start! Thanks for stopping by on the blog, and catch you soon!
At some point last year, I became obsessed with painting Mt. Elbert in Leadville, Colorado.Read More
I've had kind of a rough fall season.
I blogged a bit and kept track of everything that happened during Hurricane Harvey. While we suffered no damage, the mental stress of Harvey was tough on me. The sky was dark for days. We lost the internet. We ran out of data on our phones and got charged for it. At one point there was just no food left in our area, there were looters, and people became kind of dangerous.
Right after life was sort of getting back on track after Harvey, I was downsized from my job. It was probably for the best overall, but still came as a shock.
One lesson I have learned in these recent weeks of being unemployed (which hasn't happened to me for over ten years) is that the ideas that I create as an artist during times of stability and times of uncertainty are very different.
Occasionally while driving in Houston to my software implementation day job, a relentless art idea would just close its jaws down on me.
One early morning, while stuck in a gradually-budging chain of traffic, I stared at the bumper of the car in front of mine and had a vision of a woman magically transforming herself. She was holding out her hands and some kind of energy was forming between her palms.
I worked all day at the office, sketched the idea in my calendar notebook, then I went home and started drawing it. It took me about 6 hours to finally finish the piece over a weekend:
I had several art ideas like this over the past year while driving in Houston. The ideas would just emerge out of the diffused humidity and demand to be made. If I didn't make them, I would feel like I was stifling some part of myself.
Lately, without a daily traffic jam and endless bumpers to stare at, I realize my process is a bit different. Yet, I'm definitely creating more. I've made over 50 pieces since being downsized, and they're all just as deep as what I was creating during a time of stability.
Hurricane Harvey also kind of stopped my progress on my comic, Tilted Sun. But the good news is that I am finally able to think about the comic again and also make a few panels.
I just couldn't think as a director for a while - I had to get back to a stable place. To make a comic, I've realized you HAVE to think of the process like a film director. There is really no other way. Though comics may not have music or sound effects, it still helps to think in terms of what kind of music a certain panel might have. Overall I guess what I am saying is I continue to take the comic's production very seriously, which takes time.
When I did have traffic-jam stability-born ideas that just took over and demand to be made, such as the woman transforming herself, I can bring those ideas back into the comic or larger projects as a whole. Though ideas happen at different times for different reasons, they don't have to exist on their own - they are all a part of the story to tell.
There is probably still a myth out there where the more tortured an artist is, the better their artwork is. This is a myth. Stability is good for art, not being in a hurricane is good for art. The art created is just different, as far as I can see. You be the ultimate judge :)
I never thought I would like an MMORPG.
Growing up, I watched friends play Everquest, World of Warcraft, and even Second Life with only a minor interest. Sim City, The Incredible Machine, and Myst were more up my alley as far as computer gaming. When I went to college, a laptop was my key study tool, ironically (Facebook arrived in 2004, the year I started school, and thank God, at that point Facebook was still incredibly boring and Wikipedia was not yet to be trusted). Games were on consoles, and computers were for writing papers. I didn't get the whole computer gaming thing as a whole until Elder Scrolls Online.
At first, when I saw Marc playing Elder Scrolls Online, I watched his steel-plated avatar hustle across the landscape and thought: "This sorta looks fun, but it is not for me." Suddenly, a player rode by on a giant tiger with a pet dragon following close behind. "Actually this IS for me," I said "I, too, want to ride a giant tiger and have a cool dragon!" We signed me up for an account and the rest is history. I've been playing Elder Scrolls with Marc for about a year now, It's been a fun way for us to play games together, but not necessarily fight against each other.
As much as I like Elder Scrolls Online, fortunately I don't think I am at the point where I am needing MMORPG detox - I still get outside a bunch, and like with all games I struggle to find time to play ESO. When I do find time, it is a fun escape.
What is cool about Elder Scrolls Online is you can use it for character art resourcing. Yes... that is right ... I found a way to take a game and use it for artistic purposes!
Sometimes when I need to draw a comicbook character at a tough angle, I start up Elder Scrolls Online and position the camera above one of my avatars.
As strange as this sounds, it is far easier than searching on Google for the perfect reference photo and finding piles of weird and depressing stock art.
I've also learned a bit about landscape artistry from Elder Scrolls. Since I am an artist who is much better at illustrating people, things, and animals than landscapes, it takes tons of extra work for me to make landscapes be interesting.
While traipsing through Morrowind and Rivenspire, I thought about how hard it would be to be an Elder Scrolls Online landscape artist, and how you would have to make the landscape interesting and believable from all angles.
Heck - this goes for any game. Painters are lucky because they just have to make one angle of their media look good (usually). Not every landscape screencapture in ESO is a winner, but, there are interesting ideas afoot with grass, rock forms, tree variation, and clouds.
This video game is lifelike in that if you slow down and take time to smell the roses, you start to see some really interesting things.
As much as I've drawn land animals like cats, elephants, and birds in ink, you'd think by now I would have had the thought already to draw a water-based animal with water. Well, finally :)Read More
Right now I am alternating between simple forms ink ink and difficult forms in ink. It's good to warm up or start with a simple piece (like cat silhouettes!), and then flex into a more challenging shape (like Adam touching the hand of God!)Read More
So far I have only half-heartedly participated in inktober each year, despite loving ink and using it for my art for over 10 years.Read More
Whether it is horoscopes, religious parables, or other people telling us who we are and what we are like, we all have the opportunity to embrace or reject these narratives.Read More
Over the years, I've tried painting with layers of melted plastic, painting with oil on plexiglass, and making large works of art with ink on mylar. Every time I experiment with mediums, I have to ask:
Does this medium make good art?Read More
While making these weblike works using ink and water, I have kept two images in mind: a meditative path, and a dreamcatcher. I started making the circular pieces because it is interesting to see how the color flows within the shape.
1. Make 5 cocentric circles of water
2. Connect the circles with arbitrary radial paths
3. Add color throughout
The randomness of the radial paths is what leads each circle group to be unique. Here is a video of this process during step 3, where color is added to an existing waterform:
The shapes look much darker before eventually drying, although in the piece above, I did use a lot of black ink.
While making the piece above I was thinking about atomic structures in textbooks, and how our visual conception of atoms and subatomic particles are mostly just that - visual conceptions or representational ideas that try to capture something we can never truly see. In textbooks, electrons are represented as little spheres, and this is as close as we can come to knowing what an electron looks like. So, I made the piece above thinking about the limitations of representation in physics and how we try, through art, to communicate relationships between atomic forms. It sort of works, but it works while knowing it is a flawed enterprise.
The piece above is a simple maze, where I carried a single line of water across an entire sheet of paper, stopping to refill the water dropper occasionally. What is fun about works like this is creating an undulation, then finding a way to correct it or even out the space later on. I only lost my steady hand at the last moment at the very bottom of the paper, where you can see the two lines joining. I think I became too excited to finish the piece and temporarily lapsed in concentration!
After warming up with low-stakes abstract shapes, I was able to start work on a more advanced shape - that of a leaping cat. The stakes are still low working with water on paper - if you move the water to an area of the paper that feels 'wrong' you can just try again with another sheet before applying color. The original sheet will just dry off and you can try again. To combat any further frustration here, I typically try to keep about 20 sheets of small mixed media on hand. This frees me up to make mistakes and keep trying - without feeling bad that I ruined a piece of paper or wasted it.
Hope you enjoyed this Art Coffee Break!
After setting up DraftTable, all I can say is, wow. I'm so glad I have it now. It has made my art production routine so much better, and it did so almost immediately.Read More
This weekend I finished up work on a piece I'd been wanting to do for a long time, an image from Persona 5 of Ann Takamaki hugging the cat character, Morgana.Read More
Lately I have been working with colorful inks, which has been fun and relaxing!Read More
Flyers, newspapers, advertisements, paper stuffed under car windshields, copies of bills that were already paid online, free magazines... the modern world bombards us with paper on a near constant basis.
Thankfully, even the most boring bank statement can be reborn through the handmade papermaking process.Read More
During Hurricane Harvey I couldn't really make art. The only piece I made during the entire 7+ days of rain and wind was the piece above, where I drew a series of houses flooded by black water.Read More
How Instacart helped me save time and create more art.Read More